Everybody’s got some thoughts for real estate in 2016. Most predictions are unfortunately kind of gloomy right now, but not a lot pertain to Southern Alberta and fewer are based on local statistics and facts. Interpreting all the data from our MLS® (Multiple Listing Service) can provide some clear insights as to the state of real estate in the Lethbridge area. Data from November and December this past year showed that sale prices have maintained a steady value as compared to combined November and December data for 2013 and 2014. The number of sales from November and December has increased by a very substantial 20% over November- December 2014 as well as that period in 2013. That’s exciting because it indicates that while sales activity is very strong, our prices are not in decline.
Why has this happened? Our local economy is driven primarily by an agriculture base, which has been doing well and is predicted to have another good year ahead. Low oil prices help this industry in production and transportation costs. Secondarily, our local economy is strengthened through a high number of government-sustained career positions in education and health. These are relatively well-paid jobs, which, admittedly, are more secure under an NDP government – to the benefit of our area.
We are not in bad shape. But our confidence isn’t high. The result of this has been fewer active listings. This is a factor that keeps our prices steady, even while the number of sales increases.
Of course, the impact of a dollar that hasn’t been this low since the fi rst Trudeau can’t be ignored. The cost of materials coming from or competing within the American market will create a challenge for New Home builders in keeping their product competitive.
I’ll stick my neck out to predict a good year for real estate once again in the Lethbridge area. Consumers will want to watch their timing for how many active listings are on the market and be wise to the costs of the New Home construction.